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Digital Media Production Guide : Digital Media Life Hacks Screencasting

This guide highlights various software and tools you can use to create digital video projects

Life Hacks

Digital Media Guide Life Hacks Screencasting

Screencasting allows you to make a video recording of anything on your computer screen.  When combined with presentation tools like PowerPoint or Prezi, you can narrate your presentations and post them as online videos.   

Step 1
Start by writing a script. This is the most important thing you can do to add quality to your video. It will ensure that you deliver a clear and concise message by allowing you to revise and edit your thoughts prior to filming. It will eliminate awkward pauses and keep you from repeating “um and ah” as you try to figure out what to say next. It will make it easy to add closed captions to your video (making them more accessible). Use a two column format when creating your script. Each row will represent a slide from your presentation. In the left hand column, write the dialogue leaving the right hand column to add images.

Two column log with dialogue in the left column and space for images in the rigth column.

Step 2
Find appropriate images to match your script. If none are available on the web, use a camera to create your own (make sure to document where images came from).  Add images to your presentation and script at the same time. First, insert the image/s into your presentation and apply any animation or special effects (such as appear/disappear). Next, add image/s to script and make any notations in the dialogue that will help you know when to activate the animation or move to the next slide.

Two column log with dialogue in left column and images from presenation in right hand column

Keep in mind that slides in your presentation should be primarily visual with limited text. The audio will convey your ideas. Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery by Garr Reynolds and slide:olgy by Nancy Duarte offer great advice on how to create an effective visual presentation.   

Step 3
Record your presentation using Screencasting software.  There are a variety of free Screencasting tools available. Choose one that can save in MP4 format. This will make it easier to edit in a variety of video editors. Use your script to guide you through recording your presentation. If you make a mistake, pause two seconds, and reread the line.  You will edit out mistakes later.  You should end up with a continuous video (with probably a few mistakes) saved in MP4 format.

Step 4
Download your screencast into a video editing program (iMovie, Windows Moviemaker, Video Pad).  Edit out the mistakes until you have clean version of your video. You may decide at this point to rerecord your audio.  If so, eliminate your audio and rerecord using the video editing programs audio recording features. 

Step 5
Add transitions to the video using video editor’s transitions features. Keep these subtle.  Add music and sound effects. Make sure the music doesn’t overshadow your presentation (especially the dialogue). Music does not have to play continuously to be effective. Use the audio fade in/fade out options to add emphasis or for transitions between major sections. 

Step 6
Add title and end clips. One of your end clips should be a works cited/reference slide documenting where you got your information, images, music.

Step 7
Publish or export as an MP4 video file and upload to YouTube. Add closed captions to your video and share with the world.